Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wrong Reaction

In class when Ms. King asked us in class what our reaction would be when we found out our son turned into a bug, apparently I reacted wrong. I said I would probably freak out and cry. I think this is a very reasonable reaction! I don't expect the normal person would be calm. If you were calm in this situation that's strange.l still stick by my original reaction of freaking out and not accepting that my only son turned into a bug!


During my search for Gregor's true species, I stumbled upon a few Twitter accounts. The accounts are parody accounts for poor little Gregor. The tweets include things like "Feels like I might disappear all together," "I hardly even feel the decayed apple in my back," and "Maybe now they'll let me turn around." It's comical and entertaining. While going through the profile, I got reminded of Henri the cat's poor and somber attitude with the world. Just thought everyone should see.

@_gregorsamsa on Twitter

Just what kind of Bug was Gregor

In class the other day, we talked about my search for the exact type of beetle Gregor transformed into.   I searched "Beetle Species common in Prague," "Beetles with lots of small legs," "What kind of Beetle was Gregor Samsa," etc.  I came across multiple species of roaches and beetles. The beetle that I found to be closest to Kafka's beetle was the Scarab. A beetle that has a jaw-like adaptation, and smaller legs. I  eventually realized that Kafka probably just made up his own beetle/cockroach creature, embodying all of the traits that we see in The Metamorphosis. The Scarab doesn't exactly fit the description, but I thought it wa pretty darn close.

Bugs vs. Mammals

I think it's crazy how meaningless bugs are to most people. Don't get me wrong I'm the same way but it's just insane to think about. Gregor's dad has absolutely no problem trying to kill him as a bug and it's his own son! Also if you think about how humans react towards the death of mammals vs the death of bugs. Personally I legitimately cry anytime I pass an animal that has been hit in the street but I will voluntarily kill a bug (or preferably nominate someone else to) and I think most people would agree with me. For some reason people just don't care about bugs but other animals are much more of a big deal. It's a very strange concept to me.

I'm a Beautiful Butterfly!

Please enjoy:

Usually when I think of a metamorphosis I think of the transformation being a positive one without any bad consequences. Like a caterpillar changing to a beautiful butterfly, for example. Gregor changing into a beetle doesn't sound very positive, but it does have some benefits. There is also something negative about it. In becoming an insect, he is finally freed from a lifestyle of constantly working and giving his money to his ungrateful family. Not only does he have all the freedom he's ever wanted, but he is being given some of the attention from his parents he never had. Unfortunately, this attention is not exactly the greatest. His family has no desire to be around him as they are disgusted by his appearance. He suffers from the same cruelty and neglect he suffered from before his transformation.


So, I was just scrolling through Facebook and came across this picture. It reminds me so much of Henri the cat that the lines could've been taken directly from him. As I was thinking, you can really relate Henri to Gregor. After all they're both some sort of animal/insect and have the conscious of a human being. We usually think of animals as satisfied and happy (as long as they're treated well) because of their inability to understand anything other than their immediate lives. We even go as far to assume that insects have no souls, as we mentioned in class. I think it's a really effective method, both in literature and just for fun, to assign human consciousness to animals/insects. I think the Henri video we watched is applying an existentialist attitude to a cat just for fun. However, if we want to translate it into some kind of figurative meaning, I think that the video kind of mocks a lot of people's attitudes towards life, implying that many of our worries are trivial. In the case of Gregor, I think the author makes him an insect with a human conscious partly in order to portray how worthless he is to his family. So, my point is that people often use the animal/human conscious dynamic to convey different messages, and I thought this picture was a funny way to show the difference between dogs and cats.

It's Tough To Be A Bug

In one of our class discussions this week, we talked about what it means to be a bug and why Gregor might have been turned into a bug. We came to the conclusion that bugs are considered soulless and pests. This discussion made me think of the 4D experience in Disney World called "It's Tough To Be A Bug". The bugs from "A Bug's Life" plus some extra bugs come on screen and describe how hard it is living as a bug because all people try to do is kill you in different ways. So in order to get their point across about how terrible it is and how they do have souls, the bugs try to kill you in the same ways that you try to kill them which is where the 4D part comes in. I personally hate this show/ride/experience and always have. I actually got punished in Disney world when I was younger for throwing a fit so I wouldn't have to go in this show. But I immediately thought of it when we talked about how most people believe that bugs don't have souls and it doesn't matter if we kill them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Beetles

Devil's Advocate

I don't want to be the depressing one to rain on everyone's parade, but someone has to point this out. Jaclyn said in class earlier today how Gregor is one of the first characters in any story we've ever encountered where he did nothing to deserve his misfortunes. I want to agree because I really like Gregor, but part of me needs to recognize that Gregor brings a lot of this on himself. He allows his family to treat him like an insignificant pest. He doesn't realize he's being taken advantage of and goes out of his way to defend his greedy free-loading family members. His father hid a fortune from Gregor and allowed Gregor to work non-stop for 5+ years to pay off the family debt and all Gregor had to say to that was how great of an idea it was. This sounds bad when you say it out loud but sometimes you just have to think about yourself and your own needs. Gregor shouldn't have been so naive and selfless. I wondered why Gregor was changed into a bug when I read the first sentence of the short story, but now it somewhat makes a little more sense to me. I think there are several interpretations that could solve the mystery, though the reader is not provided with any direct explanation. Perhaps one of the reasons he transformed into a bug specifically is because he allowed himself to be treated like one before the metamorphosis. His physical transformation just points out the fact of the matter.

Why do y'all think Kafka made Gregor a bug instead of some other animal?

The Father's Job

I think that Gregor's father's new job fits his personality very well. As someone who has been unsuccessful at business and leeching off his son for five years, he picks up a job as a security guard at a bank. His domineering attitude and desire for control over others, combined with his violent tendencies, make him someone who would murder his own son. He seems to desperately want to be the head of the family and to compensate for his ineptitude in being such. I speculate that being a security guard could potentially feed his ego, so he clings onto that bit of satisfaction and refuses to take off his uniform at home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Working Bug

I was scrolling through the featured section on iFunny today and came across this post (ignore the caption). I thought it was funny that we just recently read about a working man turning into a "cockroach" and then I see a working cockroach on my phone! In Part II, over the course of time he's living as a bug, Gregor begins to adapt to his new life. His sister notices how much he enjoys climbing on the walls and ceiling in his room, so to give him more space she and the mother begin taking out the furniture. Gregor comments on how he doesn't want his mom and sister to take out the desk where he used to do his writing. Now I am not going to be able to help myself from imagining Gregor sitting at his desk like this, writing away.

Monday, January 25, 2016

another twitter connection

So surprise to everyone, "I was scrolling on Twitter {again} and I came across..." this image. It reminds me of the discussion we had the other day in class about ennui and feeding the demons that live inside of us. The reason we often let ourselves feel down is because we keep playing our emotions on those qualities. On the other hand, as this post says, if we consume ourselves with happiness and surround ourselves with good people and spirit, then we will be at peace. I was super excited when I saw this post that I was able to think of Humanities and the ever-present discussion about our inner selves.

Sunday, January 24, 2016



"A Carcass" kind of reminded my of "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley--not because the stories are the same but because of the "memorialization" concept. Baudelaire immortalizes his beloved through the poem itself and the art he created out of death lives on. The "carcass's" spirit and essence live on even though her body is gone. A great statue was built to commemorate Ozymandias, an Egyptian pharaoh, so people would remember all of his power and glory forever and ever. Though the majesty of the monument is crumbling, the art lives on. For example, the "sneer of cold command" and the "shattered visage" remain, reminding viewers of the pharaoh's reputation.

Below is Shelley's poem:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:--Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half ink, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


I hate being bored. I see where Bourdelaire got all of his anger for his poem from. When I'm bored all I do is eat and this kills me. This poem talks about how boredom is the reason for all of the bad things in the world and I can see why. When people are bored they do things just to entertain themselves. Personally, I snack but some other people do things like start drama for no reason. They will go around and pick fights with people because they are "bored." People have started using boredom as an excuse for their actions. I know eunni does not exactly mean boredom but I enjoyed this translation because I could relate to it. 

A Carcass

I found this illustration artist Abi Heyneke made to accompany "A Carcass" and thought it accurately captured Baudelaire's message. In his poem, Baudelaire is trying to express to the reader that beauty "blossoms" out of something dead and decaying. (Ha, also literal art (this picture) was created out of death...get it?) We see that Heyneke chose to go with the theory that the carcass is not an animal's but a woman's (something I initially thought myself). To me, the flowers look not only like actual flowers but also like flesh that has been cooked by the sun. Off to the side are the bugs and other natural creatures that feed from the body. It is easy to see in this image that life and death are working together.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Today as we were watching Henri the cat with ennui, it made me very upset. I realized that we as people often feel the same way. We enjoy feeling sorry for ourselves, just as underground man did. We almost like to suffer, because then we have something to mope around about. Suffering, whether from boredom in first-world-problem style, or in something that is life threatening like not having enough clean water to drink, is part of the human condition. We are not able to work in an ideal situation like the Utilitarians believed, only because we are selfish individuals that are concerned with our own lives and happiness rather than the good will of everyone as a whole. We constantly suffer from our own self-pity, and are slaves to our emotions. Henri the cat made me understand this reality.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

carcass: a quick snack

As I was openly procrastinating for my Humanities Test tomorrow, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across some article about cats. I then clicked the next article and started reading fun facts about Vultures. This reminded me about "A Carcass" and thus English and Humanities (and the test I am currently ignoring.) Here are my favorite carcass- related facts directly from the site! Hope y'all's twitter scrolling is as productive and educational as mine was!
  1. Unlike many raptors, vultures are relatively social and often feed, fly or roost in large flocks. A group of vultures is called a committee, venue or volt. In flight, a flock of vultures is a kettle, and when the birds are feeding together at a carcass, the group is called a wake.
  2. Vultures are carnivorous and eat carrion almost exclusively. They prefer fresh meat but are able to consume carcasses that may have rotted so much as to be dangerous for other animals. This gives vultures a unique and important ecological niche because they help prevent the spread of diseases from old, rotting corpses.
  3. Vultures urinate on their legs and feet to help cool off on hot days, and their urine also helps kill any bacteria or parasites they’ve picked up from walking through carcasses to help keep the birds healthier
Gross as heck, but also super interesting. Perhaps our subject in Baudelaire's poem had vulture urine on her as well, or was soon to be the site of a wake!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Monet, Impressionism, and Comedy Central

 I was just watching Comedy Central's Discover page on Snapchat and this comedian named Jesse James had a bit in which he criticized art.  His segment was called what I hate about art. He started by saying that impressionism "pissed him off the most" of any other type of art. He then moved on to say that he specifically hated Claude Monet. He described Monet as a "handicapped conman" because Monet had catarax. James, who earned an education at an art school prior to becoming a comedian pointed out how Monet had catarax, and how  anyone could re-create his work by simply spraying pepper spray in their eyes and attempting to paint water lilies. James didn't buy into the idea of atmosphere or the idea of an impression of a moment or place. I just thought it was really cool and interesting that I knew exactly what the comedian was talking about in his little comedy bit. Everyone should go watch before the day is over. If not its "Jesse James @@midnight "what I hate about art""

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Irrational Desires

            In class, we talked about how there's the idea that desire is the drive for all human activities, and that our desires are not always in our best interest. It's an exhilarating thought that our ancestors, the original Homo sapiens, traveled away from the comfort and safety of home into waters and certain death, with no "rational" motive. Their desire to simply see what is out there even though it would cost them their lives is not utilitarian at all, but in the end, the Neanderthals, who were also intelligent and resourceful, went extinct while the Homo sapiens with their irrational desires ultimately became masters of the Earth.

My weirdest dream

So in class we mentioned that the dreams we have mean a lot about us and the things we suppress usually come out in dreams. So can someone please explain this one to me. When I was younger I had a dream that I was on the levee, something very typical of my family at the time. I was taking a walk alone and a man started following me. This man had on glasses, a hat, and a ski mask. I started running from him. The next time i looked back, he was riding an ostrich! I remember this dream vividly because i woke up scared out of my mind. I just really hope this never happens to me because the dream didn't end well.

UM Suicidal?

While replying to someone's post about UM's masochism I came about a thought about UM's fanatical behaviour. We have all noticed how UM finds pleasure in brining himself pain. While usually, masochism refers to physical pain, UM prefers to bring himself psychological pain. I think this is because physical pain doesn't work for him- whether it doesn't affect him as much or he's used to it because of his illness or whatever, he prefers mental, more permanent pain. We also know that UM hates himself and he's very self conscious and critical about himself and others. When you think about it that way, UM's tendency to do things that will bring him despair and heartbreak can be compared to people who bring themselves physical pain (like cutting themselves) I think UM deals with a similar depression and almost suicidal thoughts that these people do, except he realizes that mental pain hurts a lot worse and longer than physical pain. I think UM hates himself and him hurting himself is on purpose and because he feels that the life he leads is meaningless and he wonders what his purpose is and why he is there at all.

UM vs Freud

It is interesting to point out how Freud would analyze the Underground Man. One of Freud's most significant theories was the structural model (what he called the "psychic apparatus") of the mind composed of the "id," the "ego," and the "super-ego." According to Freud, the id is the completely unconscious portion of the psyche that operates in accord with the "pleasure principle," seeking immediate pleasure and gratification, and is the source of basic impulses. Freud then proposed that the ego's goal is to satisfy the demands of the id in a "safe and socially acceptable way." Pleasure dominates the id while the ego represents reason. Thus, the id and ego contrast each other and there is a constant battle between the two.  UM obsesses over the relationship between human reason and desire. He claims that while he is not completely opposed to reason, reason is only a part of what makes us human and desire is oppositional to what reason would dictate. Simply put, UM does not want to live a life based just on reason because the essence of human life is desire. Here, UM's id overpowers his ego.

The ________ Man

Though he feels underneath people, at the same time he thinks he is superior to the rest of society... As a result, I find the name "Underground Man" a little ironic but also fitting. It is ironic because UM considers himself to be so intellectually "above" everyone else (but he's an underground man, get it?). He is prideful and thinks he is unique in his psychological dilemma. But it is fitting because this thinking and analysis incapacitates him. The socially inept UM basically lives underground as he secludes himself by choice, seeing reality as something he'll collide with, and constantly overanalyzes everything. The people he tries to interact with are the ones he claims to despise, pushing him further into a life of loneliness and seclusion. Not to mention he has no family or foundation to support him, thus causing him to lack a sense of community. It is unfortunate that UM sees his relationship to the world and other people as some violent confrontation. His "underground" is a refuge from the above human world.

Bowdielaire (Bowie + Baudelaire)

Mrs. Quinet made an interesting connection in class the other day between David Bowie and Charles Baudelaire regarding consciousness. Both artists (musical and literary, respectively) made an incredible impact on popular culture and society with their innovation and content. Bowie's music altered many lives and "challenged the very core belief of the rock music of its day." Similarly, Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal and other writings explored the unknown and protested conventional pieces of literature. Baudelaire was highly influential on other poets and really established and secured a strong reputation as a poet. Bowie and Baudelaire enhanced their reputations by flaunting their eccentricities. What made them so popular was that they embraced the unconventional and did it with pure consciousness. They wanted to change what was considered acceptable so they did without hesitating.

Baudelaire, Poe, and Netflix

Based on our recent readings on Baudelaire and his biography. I found Baudelaire's fascination with Edgar Allan Poe, I thought it would be interesting to blog about a small Poe connection that I've made.  I watch a show on Netflix called One Tree Hill. It is about a high school basketball team and all the drama that comes with high school students. The schools's mascot is the Raven. I never thought of any connection to Poe with the school until one episode in season two. Before a basketball game, instead of shouting "1,2,3, Ravens!" the team put their hands in the middle and proclaimed. "Ravens, when are we gonna lose? NEVERMORE!" I was mind blown. I gathered my family and showed them my connection (I had to explain Poe's poem "The Raven"). I just thought everyone would find this interesting.

Oedipus Complex

While studying Freud, one of the things that stands out most to me (as it probably does to most) is the Oedipus complex. I'm always very thrown off and kind of weirded out by the whole idea because, personally, I don't think small children even understand the concept of sexuality. I researched the whole idea a little further, mostly to see what others think about it, and came across something a woman named Melanie Klein wrote. She went to school for psychology and has studied the Oedipus complex in great detail. She says, "when the baby begins to become aware of the father’s existence, he or she feels him to be a rival for the nourishment and comfort offered by the breast. To me, the Oedipus complex is about emotional competition, in whatever arena; I’ve most often found rivalry in the emotional area." 
I agree more with what she's saying than Freud. She claims that the desire for one's father to dissapear comes from an emotion such as jealousy with regard to a sense of a sort of threat. (The baby thinks the father will steal the nourishment and protection that the mother provides). I just like her explanation a lot more than Freud's, which, to me, seems to be assigning children sexuality they are incapable of comprehending. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

DREAMS with Sigmund Freud

Blue Mountain State, the cinematic excellence of our generation, has a character who hosts a show about Dreams. His name is Radon Randell (see clip below).

This section on Freud and the interpretation of dreams reminded me of Radon's show. He had people call in and explain their dreams, then he would interpret them and give them advice. Radon is no Freud, however, he was able to hilariously analyze people's self conscious, similar to Freud. He used similar methods to Freud, but was not nearly as accurate!!

Please enjoy this picture I made of Radon Freud.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Inspirational or crazy

Romantics viewed nature as a way to see the divine. They were so in awe of the power of nature. Today, this statement would probably label someone as a hippy or crazy. Although poets write about nature even today, I feel as if someone today would say “nature has its own spirit,” they would be scoffed at. Like Ashley said in class, I definitely agree with what they are saying though: walking around in nature does inspire an individual to see the beauty in the world. Back then, they were so used to poets writing beautifully about nature and frilly things but not comfortable with death or sex (or drugs and rock and roll. LOL. No? Okay.) Romantics were basically a bunch of pansies (like the flower...which is nature...LOL again...alright.) **Comment if you think I'm witty!!!**

50 shades of baudelaire

I find it interesting that Baudelaire is consumed with the grotesque and socially unacceptable ideals of Romanticism. I feel as if his and Poe’s erotic poetry would have been viewed as the “50 Shades of Grey” of the Romantic period. Baudelaire, who was totally okay with the full frontal nudity in art, was rebuked for disrupting the harmony of prim and proper society. Today’s culture has similar views of those who expose themselves in photos, online, etc. However, many view it as artwork as Baudelaire did. Things were definitely getting more raunchy during this time in literature and artwork, similar to today’s changing culture.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

I would rather be active

The Underground Man constantly puts down a man of action because he believes contemplating on the value of goals is what makes a man an interllectual, like himself. This is the key reason why UM dislikes Zverkov. I would much rather be the Zerkov because he enjoys life and makes active decisions instead of isolating himself and becoming  a miserable man who inflicts pain upon himself, and finds hatred in everyone he meets. 


Masochism is "the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from one's own pain or humiliation." We came to the conclusion the other day in class that the Underground Man exhibits masochistic qualities, especially in Part I. When we are first introduced to UM, we learn that he really actually does get some sort of enjoyment from bringing pain among himself. More importantly, he even says he would "feel unending pleasure if [he] succeeded in causing someone distress." UM suffers too many dilemmas and I don't know whether to feel bad for him or not... The people he tries to interact with are the ones he claims to despise; he's self-loathing but also narcissistic; he feels underneath people while at the same time thinks he's intellectually superior. He's also incredibly isolated and socially inept, but he's pessimistic and doesn't make an effort to take action because his thinking and analysis incapacitates him. Some of UM's analysis would certainly make one feel a little uncomfortable. He's very obsessive to the point where he drives himself crazy. Like he said in the beginning, he's definitely a "sick" man, but can we really blame the liver?

What's Up with the Sky?

So far we have encountered a lot of Russian names ending in "sky." Dostoevsky, Chernyshevsky, Petrashevsky, etc. I felt the need to research the origins of this iconic ending. Unfortunately, I was unable to find very much concrete information. What I did find was that "sky" is more like an adjective suffix. The ending can also be interpreted as a possessive marker. Names with the "sky" ending are more associated with the Western parts of European Russia, Polish heritage, and to some extent, higher social class background. I also read that it is commonly believed "sky" is a Jewish surname. It turns out that Dostoevsky stood up for the rights of Jews and supported equal rights for the Russian Jewish population--considered to be an unpopular position in Russia. I just thought this was kind of an interesting connection!

What do you think will happen to the Underground Man?

            So far, the Underground Man’s life has been nothing but despair. He wastes all his time trying to control others, which is an unhealthy goal that amounts to nothing for him. When he finally finds Liza, the person whom he can abuse, it turns out that she is much stronger and more stable than he is. This makes the Underground Man finally burst out with insecurity, and he seems helpless in his mental issues. What do you think will be the final resolution in the story? Will the Underground Man find happiness (and would it be with Liza)? Will he commit suicide or finally provoke someone enough for them to murder him? Or would the story amount to some other ending?


We have been reading a lot about prostitution in relation to the underground man. On a side note, I recently found a book about prostitution. My grandparents own a old plantation home (built in 1874) in Mississippi. In the library of the house, I stumbled upon a book titled "For Money or for Love: Boy Prostitution in America. I know, weird right? I flipped through the book and skimmed a few pages. In my brief readings, I found out that these young male prostitutes were very popular during the '40s thru the '60s. At one point the author discusses his attempts to save the young men from prostitution. This reminded me of the Underground Man's conversation with Liza. Other things I saw in Boy Prostitution in America include the boys nicknames. The prostitutes were called "Chickens" and their customers "Chikenhawks." The title of this blog post is a snippet of a newspaper article that was a image in the book. The book was really weird and I was kind of uncomfortable reading it, but it reminded me of the UM.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Underground Man and the Officer

The one thing that really stood out to me while reading tonight is the need for attention that the underground man possesses (or at least used to). His obsession with this officer is a little crazy. After the incident in the bar when the officer does not pick a fight with him, the Underground man proceeds to basically stalk this officer for a casual two years. He decides to then write him a letter, challenging him to a "duel," but then decides not to send it. He eventually comes up with the whole plan to bump into the officer at the park because the underground man claims that he wants to feel socially equal to the officer. (I kind of think it's more about his need for attention, though). He extensively prepares for this and finally accomplishes it after many attempts. The underground man then says that he still thinks about the officer fourteen years later. I do kind of feel bad for the guy because he's so down on himself, but I think he also needs to learn how to deal with life and get over things. He actually admits in the very beginning that the inability to get over things (his over-conciousness) is his problem, so at least he knows what he needs to work on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Free Will

In class today, we got on the topic of free will and why people would make choices that they know will impact them in a negative way in the long run even if it satisfies them for the time being. It reminded me of a book I just finished reading over the break. It is called A Million Little Pieces and it is a memoir about a man's experiences in rehab and how he ended up there. Throughout his journey in rehab, the author, James, denies that addiction is a disease and refuses to put fault on anything besides himself. He admits that his addiction is solely his own fault for making the choices to do what he did each time. Upon being asked how he will remain sober once he leaves, he tells the therapist that he will simply choose not to do the drugs or drink. I felt that the idea of free choice as the underground man describes it is exhibited a lot through the thought process of James Frey.

Friday, January 1, 2016